Tooru visits Australia. Part 3.


This was really the big day, Tooru was going to catch his first Murray Crayfish on the beautiful Goulburn River. We are very lucky here in Australia, most of our rivers are in good condition and we also have the largest freshwater crayfish in the world. At right early morning on the Goulburn, ah! the tranquility.


About Spiny Crayfish. There are several types of spiny crayfish in Australia. Generally each river system flowing into Bass Strait and the Pacific Ocean has it's own spiny crayfish. They go from sub-tropical Queensland to Victoria which is a temporate climate. Water temperature and season can make a big difference to your success in catching crayfish. Generally speaking, Murray Crayfish are best caught in the colder months of May, June, July and August. Co-incidentally the crayfish license fishing season for Murray Crayfish is limited to these months.

Okay, how to catch them. Murray crayfish are found in the Murray-Darling River system. Even smalls streams can have Murray crayfish in them.



Come on Tooru, get out of bed


Crayfish nets with floats attached


Catching Them.

Lets go!

1. Get a Victorian fishing license, only fish the months mentioned above. If you fish in the Murray River it is New South Wales water and you need a NSW fishing license (even fishing from the Victorian side)

2. Get some crayfish nets, obtainable at most Victoria Tackle Shops. I prefer to make my own using hoop iron and landing net refills because they are heavier and strong than the commerially produced ones.

3. You can fish from the bank, with bigger rivers a boat is better. If you use a boat you will need floats. Boat operators also have to be licensed. You will also need a waterproof felt tip pen to write your name and address on the floats. Empty plastic fruit juice and milk containers make excellent floats, I'm pretty cheap.


Marking the nets with our Permit Number

Tooru, still half asleep


Nets are in, back for breakfast

Ozzie BBQ breakfast (remember Chris)


4. Bait, anything a bit stinky is good, road killed rabbits etc. I generally use lamb's liver and fish heads.

5. How to keep the bait in the net. Cut up a pair of women's stockings and put the bait in the stocking. Tie the stocking into the net.
(You get some funny looks at the supermarket when you put bloody liver and stockings in the same bag)

6. Put the nets in the water, I usually put the nets in the shadows and deep sides of the river. Where a river bends it's generally deeper on the outer edge. Avoid fast flowing water, that means it's shallow. Look for crayfish burrows in the banks, that's a good indication of recent activity.

7. Pulling in the nets. I usually wait 25 mins to 45 mins between pulling in the nets.
(About the time it takes to casually drink a stubby) If your pulling them in from a boat approach the nets from down stream, grab the float and continue upstream taking the slack out of the rope, when approximately over the net, pull straight up. Sounds easy, but alot of people muck this up and get snagged.

8. Don't expect a cray in every net, sometimes none, occasionally two or more at once.


He's caught one, it was a female with eggs. All the crayfish we caught were returned to the river. Enlargement here.


9. All females with eggs and undersized crayfish must be returned to the water. Use the guide in Crayfish World to identify males from females.

10. Okay, you're got a
big cray. Please remember that spiny crayfish take a long time to grow. A crayfish of legal size is at least 10 years old and big ones can be 40 years old. I personally don't eat them, there not like yabbies which grow to full size in one year. I prefer to photograph them, a photograph lasts forever. Be a responsible hunter and return them to the water. Your kids will be proud of you. In fact take the kids yabbying, it's alot easier and quicker.

11. Last but not least, buy fish and chips on the way home.
Catching Yabbies Go Here


Lunch time, Tooru cooks Japanese Style

Tempera Prawns, Zucchini and Egg Plant


Here I am showing Tooru an electric fence. This is to stop the giant Murray crayfish attacking us when we sleep. And another photo here.

Afternoon trawling for red fin and cod, the crayfish don't come out much during the middle of the day.


Trawling in very hard work!

I teach Tooru to relaxxxxxxx


Rump steak with mushroom and peppercorn sauce



Continued here


Photos by David Royal (Aust ) and Tooru Takenaka (Japan) Text by David Royal